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David Knell
Man About Town:
The actor left Hollywood for Lake Oswego and said the TV and film industry up here is booming.
LAKE OSWEGO REVIEW
NOVEMBER 2012
9
L
akewood Theatre Company’s Tony Award-winning play ‘ART’ — on stage now — could not have a more appropriate title for
actor David Knell. Knell, a Lake Oswego resident of the First Addition neighborhood, lives and breathes the art of acting,
whether it’s live at a play house, on Youtube.com or on a TV or film set. You may have spotted him in such classic films as
“Splash,” “Total Recall” and “Turner & Hooch.”
In fact, the actor and assistant director moved to Oregon from Los Angeles in 2011 “on a whim” — because of a girl, his fiancée, Julie.
Sounds like something from the movies, doesn’t it?
His current endeavor, ‘ART,’ runs through Dec. 2 at the Lakewood Center for the Arts in Lake Oswego. He calls it “an actor’s dream
show.”
I asked Knell a few questions about his theatrical background; here are his abbreviated responses:
How did you become involved with acting?
I grew up in New York City. My parents were both actors. Actually, the acting gene goes back about four generations. I picked it up when I
was a teenager. I was in a Broadway show “Runaways” when I was 17 as an understudy. Three days after I started, they asked if I could go on
because the actor I was covering had blown out his vocal chords. So I went on. … Doing a monologue I barely knew, under a single spotlight
in front of a thousand paying people — terrifying, awesome, wonderful. … I was hooked.
So, you moved to L.A. to get into the movies. Awesome. You mentioned your first break was as Sam Clemens in a PBS
production of “Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi.” And then you were standing next to Tom Hanks and Arnold
Schwarzenegger.
Over the years I got to work with Tom Hanks a couple of times — in “Splash” and “Turner & Hooch.” He’s terrific. We had fun during “Turner”
doing “Green Acres” impersonations in between takes while I was cleaning off dog slobber. That same year, I went to Mexico City to work on
the original “Total Recall” with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I got slapped in one scene. Twenty-four takes. The last one knocked me out cold. I think
they actually used the first take.
Also, congrats on your 30 year anniversary of the college cult classic comedy “Spring Break.” I bet it was fun to be
Nelson.
I still get recognized for that, occasionally. A few years ago, when they finally released the DVD, and I noticed they were doing it on the cheap.
I tracked down some of the cast members and we recorded what I believe is the first “official bootleg original cast audio commentary.” I started
selling it on my website and the Facebook fan page and it’s done really well. What was really surprising, was how many people wrote to me to
say how much the movie meant to them, that, for some of them, it was an emblem of a period of the time they loved most in their life. … Some
have watched it 15 or 20 times. It touched me to know it actually made a difference in people’s lives.
Continued on Page 10 >>
Interview by
Nicole DeCosta
SUBMITTED PHOTOS ABOVE AND AT TOP